Re: AC AC phuzz
"those sixty foot poles with a bunch of cameras in top are so 'covert'. "
Project Champion included a mixture of covert and overt ANPR cameras.
Initially the local police were not involved in (or at least denied knowledge of) the siting of the covert cameras.
Project Champion spokespeople said that there were "a small number" of covert cameras whose existence and location would be kept largely undisclosed for operational reasons. And maybe fair enough, if WM Police had followed existing rules and regulations. But they hadn't.
Their "small number" turned out to be 64 covert ANPR cameras out of a total of 170, call it a third.
There was a formal IPCC complaint. Thames Valley Police did the investigation (thank $deity it wasn't the Met). Birmingham City Council also had its own inquiry.
Here's a few words from a BBC report on 24 Feb 2013, quoting one of the local MPs and mentioning the TVP inquiry.
An MP has said more than 200 so-called "spy" cameras which were put up in largely Muslim areas of Birmingham should never have been removed.
Khalid Mahmood said the cameras, called Project Champion, would have been an "effective tool" in helping security services track terror suspects.
The cameras, which were removed in late-2010 after never being switched on, sparked protests from residents.
An independent report was highly critical of the scheme and the police.
The cameras, some of which were hidden, were paid for with £3m of government money put aside for tackling terrorism.
An independent report into the cameras by Thames Valley Police found guidelines regarding the positioning of cameras were not followed.
The findings were highly critical, saying West Midlands Police had paid little attention to "compliance with the legal or regulatory framework" and relations between the Muslim community and police had been set back 10 years.
Critics of the project included Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, who said the police overall had displayed "incompetence" over how the situation had been handled.
<continues> from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21565427
WMP fouled up. The covert cameras may or may not have been a bright idea, but there are rules. The police are not supposed to be above the law. Ideally they'd set an example (though I realise that's a bit of an ask).